Recap: NXT: Around The Corner (11/8/18)

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Photo: WWE

This is a new format for our NXT coverage as we not only look ahead to the coming week’s show but also rewind and recap the past week’s episode.

Last week was an enthralling show from top to bottom as Matt Riddle made his much anticipated NXT debut and Aleister Black confronted Candice LeRae, the wife of the man who attacked him – Johnny Gargano.

Women’s Division

Also on last week’s show we saw what might be Nikki Cross’ final match on NXT as she made her debut on Smackdown Live this past Tuesday when she took on and defeated the experienced and two-time Mae Young Classic competitor, Mercedes Martinez. Cross was one of the best handled characters (which wrestler do you know says “that was fun” to their opponent after beating them in match?) in the entire company and, as a major Nikki Cross fan, her SD Live debut came across as a little mishandled, to say the least.

https://twitter.com/NikkiCrossWWE/status/1060356904680153088

This past week on NXT, New Zealand’s Dakota Kai defeated Brazil’s Taynara Conti. Kai’s finisher caught the eye in particular. After using her running kick in the corner only as a setup move this time, she followed it up with a sort of reverse-Canadian destroyed with Conti landing back-first on Kai’s knees.

It’s pleasing to see the NXT management finally having some faith in Conti especially after the plug was pulled on the idea that she could become a part of the Undisputed Era last year. She may not have been ready for it then but here’s to hoping the judoka from Brazil is much better prepared for some NXT TV-time this time around.

Mia Yim vs Bianca BelAir was announced for next week after a backstage verbal altercation between the duo this past week on NXT.

Tag Division

The Street Profits won their grudge match against the Mighty last week so things look to be on the up for the charismatic and athletic duo.

The tag-team division looks to be heating up with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch also returning last week and getting back to winning ways against Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo.

TakeOver War Games

TakeOver War Games is only a little more than a week away now and two big main events have been announced. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will be facing the challenge of 23-year old Velveteen Dream in his first title shot. Also, in the second annual NXT War Games match, the team of Adam Cole, the NXT tag team champions Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong and the returning Bobby Fish will take on the NXT North American champion, Ricochet, the NXT UK champion, Pete Dunne, and the team of Hanson and Rowe, the War Raiders.

This past week on NXT, the NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler was informed that Kairi Sane was invoking in her rematch clause at NXT TakeOver War Games – in a two-out-of-three falls match. And only for the second time in NXT history, Aleister Black would take on Johnny Gargano. It will be extremely interesting to see how much, or if at all, Johnny Gargano changes his in-ring style after turning heel.

NXT GM William Regal also announced that next week there would be a singles match between one member of the Undisputed Era and one member of their War Games opponents’ team and whoever won that match would have the advantage of which team member enters first in the War Games match at TakeOver.

After a backstage segment between Kassius Ohno, who looks to be turning heel as well, and the King of Bros, Matt Riddle, it looks probable that a match between the pair could be announced on the go-home TakeOver War Games show next week.

Johnny Gargano

In a pre-taped, outdoor, self-interview, Johnny Gargano gave his explanation to the NXT universe of his actions over the past few weeks. Gargano claimed that he saw Aleister as standing in between him and Tommaso Ciampa. He called Black “collateral damage”. And in his own words, “sometimes around here, you gotta fight a little dirty”.

Gargano also went on to say that he wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore and at TakeOver War Games, he’d leave Black laying once again.

Main Event

The mercurial Velveteen Dream took on the freak, Lars Sullivan. Lars Sullivan’s silhouette entrance never gets old. It is one of the most original ways of pro wrestler entrance production that has been done in a long time. Intimidating. Very, very intimidating.

In a back-and-forth encounter, the finish came as the Velveteen Dream went to the top rope to attempt his flying elbow after delivering a death valley driver on Sullivan. However, NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa came out to distract his challenger a week from Sunday. The Dream would turn his attentions to Ciampa and lay him out with a flying offense. But as he would get back into the ring, the monster would be waiting for him and Sullivan would deliver the Freak Accident for the 1-2-3.

After the match, the Sicilian Psychopath would get into the ring begin an assault on the Velveteen Dream while shouting “you’re not in my league” at the no.1 contender.

The Dream, however, would counter and reverse Ciampa into a twisting DDT right on top of the NXT championship belt. He would then proceed to go to the top turnbuckle before a number of referees would come out, trying to protect the show’s main event at TakeOver War Games. Velveteen Dream looked to be calmed down and seemed to be heading to the back before suddenly shifting gears and running back up the ropes and delivering a flying elbow right to the black heart of the NXT champion, Tommaso Ciampa.

The show would end with an inspiring visual as the 23-year old former Tough Enough competitor holding aloft the NXT Championship.

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